Tuesday, March 4, 2014

14 promises to Self in 2014.

Image credit: Google.

In 2014, I am in pursuit of myself. Instead of letting a New Year's Resolutions list disappoint me in the end, I opted this time for an approach that seems much more realistic and effective to me. While self-discipline is of extreme importance, incessant self-criticism on the other hand can be destructive. It's like one day you decide to become a painter and you expect you first piece of art to be perfect. Either your first piece is a masterpiece or you conclude that you are not capable of painting! This is the mind frame we associate with the whole New Year's Resolution's theory. If our resolution is to go on a diet or start a work out routine in the year ahead, we expect an entire 365 days streak or we give up on the entire idea the very minute we slip off the track. Over time, this practice of giving up on resolutions with unrealistic approach towards their fulfillment turns us into self loathing, self criticizing individuals who believe that they are not capable of ever achieving anything. The New Year's Resolutions is more of a "My way or the highway" drive and I have decided to change my route this time.

On the other hand, making and keeping promises is such a sacred and beautiful practice. It could be a sweet promise to bring back a snow globe for a collector friend back at home from that trip to France or something just as simple as showing up on time as promised for a coffee date with someone. While a promise can revolve around a thing or an action, it's rather all about the sentiment and the thought behind remembering to do that which was once committed. Of course there is something like an unfulfilled promise but why would we want to focus on negativity? When we love someone, when we make a promise to someone, it's important that we do the best we can in our ability to fulfill it. And despite all efforts if a promise couldn't be kept, it wont make you hate yourself! The mere awareness of having done the effort is appreciable by all the  parties bound in a promise.

However, DO NOT MAKE PROMISES which just cannot be fulfilled! Such promises are probably the reason why this famous quote : "Promises are meant to be broken", is so popular!

After having understood all these technicalities of making and keeping a promise, I have decided to make 14 promises to myself for 2014. Here they go:

1. I promise to respect and accept myself with all my flaws and qualities combined.
At any given moment, I am the best version of myself than ever before.

2. I promise to love myself.
This involves being aware of my health, my thoughts and the environment I choose to live in. If we can go out of our way to please the ones we love, why can't we reserve some TLC for ourselves?

3. I promise to De-Thought-oxify myself.
While some worthwhile ideas and thoughts deserve our attention, it's of immense importance that we stay aware of our thought process. I have often found myself thinking of things that just do not make sense at all. I have spent hours sometimes evaluating the past with an "What, if and but" condition. Oh, and be very careful from the traps of nostalgia!

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4. I promise to believe in my own ability to achieve.
Yes, I do! The rule is simple: Accept this simple fact that anything you want to be or have will require a lot of hard work. It's rare that our desires don't get fulfilled because we are unlucky. The bitter truth is that we don't want to do all the hard work needed. Even to find a lucky clover, you have to step out of your home and spend hours in the field searching for it! And it's only those who have spent the longest time looking for it who feel the greatest joy upon finding it.

5. I promise to be kind to myself.
I should have had made this promise to myself a long time ago. I don't remember anyone who has ever criticized me in a manner as harsh as mine. Remember the Solomon Islands practice for cutting trees down? Instead of chopping down a large tree, the villagers gather around the tree and shout abuses at it. Eventually the tree withers and falls over. It may as well be a myth but for those who can understand, there is an important lesson for us. Don't let you bitter self criticism kill your spirit! We all are striving for perfection in our own eyes basically. Instead of blaming yourself for your misery, put faith in yourself and your ability to make things happen.

6. I promise to be honest to myself.
Don't let other people's definition of happiness, success and power influence you. Don't let social ideas and conditioned standards shadow your originality. We tend to give up what we love doing in order to do that which the world defines as the right thing to do. Such sacrifices will leave you weary and unhappy within. The first person we need to be honest to is right within us.

7. I promise to give myself the margin to make mistakes.
You may say that people like me tend to justify the fact that we don't want to learn from other people's  mistakes but I assure you, you have to make your own share of mistake to evolve into who you are meant to be. What might have been a regretful lesson for one may as well turnout to be a life changing experience for another. However, I have this rule when it comes to making mistakes: Try and make new mistakes in order to learn new lessons.

8. I promise to take complete responsibility for myself.
Wherever we are today is the result of the choices we have made in our lives so far. Whoever we are today is the result of all the time and effort we invested in ourselves. Maybe as a kid you were dependent on people and their decisions for you but now if you find yourself blaming the past experiences for an imperfect today, think again! Today, the power is in you. Either you blame people or you take over the game. My advice: Take over the game!

Image credit: Google
9. I promise to forgive people who did wrong to me.
This is the toughest promise to keep but I am on it. From that kid who stole my project in 2nd standard to the person who once actively scandalized my naive and friendly nature, I am doing my best to forgive them all. It does take a lot of effort to try and let go of pain caused by people. More so, we forget the pain but we never forget the people. Some seek revenge while others count on Karma. Those who forgive live peacefully however! Karma doesn't work on orders. Forgive and move on. Even better, if you can't forget the pain that someone caused you, think of praying that they don't do to others what they did to you.

10. I promise not to take too much credit in other people's life.
Yes, this one is important. People are not stocks in which we invest with expectations. Give and take is a rule of business and not of relationships in life. It's understandable that we expect people to be there for us if we have always been there for them or expect them to do us good if we have been doing good to them. If we have helped people in our lives, it's only because we were capable of it and we made a choice to do so. We cannot hold our contributions in anyone's life as a share to reap returns on. No one owes you anything!

11. I promise to be thankful to those who love me.
I am not just talking about lovey dovey relationships here. Appreciate and be thankful to those around you who make your life beautiful in whatsoever way. Thank those as well, if only in your head, who have once been there in your life and have now moved on with theirs. I am blessed to have met some amazing people in life who did their best to make me smile for nothing in return. Recognize and appreciate their existence around you.

Image credit: Google
12. I promise to keep alive the curious child in me.
I am a grown up girl who is supposed to behave a certain way according to the society. While manners and etiquette are essential to an individual, I refuse to let the society impose the made-up conditions of being a grown up on me. I may still buy colorful balloons to tie to my bedside or eat a lollipop publicly. If it pleases me to let go of myself in the rain then I have all the right to do so. Whatever it is that the child within you enjoys, do it! It will keep the fire alive in you.

13. I promise to challenge myself and overcome self-imposed limitations .
Comfort zone is a trap! It  may feel great today but it only takes little time before you realize that years have gone by and you haven't evolved in anyway. When was the last time you learned something new? How did it feel? Each day we have an opportunity to add something more to our personality.You won't know what you may end up loving unless you give something a shot. Simple learning habits can come a long way. You may end up with a new job related skill, a money saving hairstyling technique, a signature recipe or even mastering a language!

14. I promise not to resist the Change.
Life brings to us many new circumstances which we aren't accustomed to. While most of my promises revolve around being true to self and exploring our personality's various dimensions, change is an important factor that aids our evolution as an individual on all levels. But despite all this, we find the idea of "Change" quite intimidating. We may find ourselves in the face of situations we never even imagined before or we may find ourselves in a place which might not feel like home. Whatever form change may arrive in, it can make us feel like we have lost all certainty in life. However, let the change transform you. Step out of the imaginary boundaries you have created around you. You will meet yourself on the other side!

These promises are not some "do or die" options. They let you breath and feel free as you make conscious choices around your promises on daily basis. And you wont beat yourself up in case you find yourself breaking a promise. In fact you can start over anytime you find yourself off-track.

So these were my promises, have you made any promises to self?